Giving Compass' Take:
- Ann Schimke reports that, in order to build a stronger early childhood teacher workforce, some preschools are offering internships to high school students who are interested in this field.
- What other ways can schools encourage retention in order to battle high turnover in preschools? COVID-19 has made clear the importance and increased the scarcity of early learning programs.
- Learn what COVID-19 is telling us about paying preschool teachers.
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Julian Salazar pushed preschoolers on swings, weaving deftly between them as the children careened back and forth. Earlier in the afternoon, the 18-year-old had worked mazes, played a number-themed card game, and snacked on Goldfish crackers with the 3- and 4-year-olds.
It was all part of Salazar’s weekly internship in a preschool classroom a couple miles away from his high school, Jefferson Junior/Senior High in the Denver suburb of Edgewater.
The internship, which ended in early May, is one component of a new early childhood career pathway offered at the high school. The year-long program also includes two early childhood classes and leads to an entry-level certificate from Red Rocks Community College that qualifies students to be assistant preschool or child care teachers.
With their professional lives just beginning, the students are laying the foundation to earn further credentials and become the lead preschool teachers and directors of the future. It’s a vision straight out of the state’s three-year plan to build a strong early childhood workforce. But in a field known for low pay and high turnover, keeping these students in the pipeline is no small task.
The shortage of early childhood workers is a perennial problem in the state. A recent survey of Colorado child care providers found an average annual turnover rate of 16 percent for lead teachers and 22 percent for assistant teachers.
Early childhood pathway programs like the one at Jefferson Jr./Sr. High represent only a partial solution to the early education workforce crunch.
Read the full article about early childcare internships in high school by Ann Schimke at Chalkbeat.